Mission Blue (Fisher Stevens, Robert Nixon, 2014) USA

Reviewed by Caroline Juul Mortensen at Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2014


I watched Mission Blue at the Opening Night at Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2014. It was a beautiful event with lights, red carpets and stunning dresses. SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling started out by saying a few words about the Film Festival and then he welcomed several of the people, who made Mission Blue. Director Fisher Stevens and Robert Nixon, star of the documentary, oceanographer and TED sensation Sylvia Earle, writer Mark Monroe (who also wrote The Cove from 2009) and composer Will Bates presented the world premier of their documentary on stage in front of the sold-out crowd in the Arlington Theater.

Oceanographer Sylvia Earle has dedicated her life to the deep ocean and everything in it and in Mission Blue the focus switches between Earle’s life and the mission she is on to save the ocean and in that way the planet. She was the first woman to dive to the deeper depths and as director and ocean pioneer James Cameron, who appears several times in the film, calls her “the Joan of Arc of the seas” you cant really argue with that after watching the documentary. The film shows us how the forces of pesticide runoff, over-fishing and carbon emissions will destroy the life in the seas and how it is already affecting us. Earle tells us how so much life that she new about in the ocean when she started out is already dead and ruined after only few years.

Director Fisher Stevens follows Earle for three years. In this time he is traveling a lot, both in America, Bermuda and Ecuador, he is perfecting his diving skills and learning about Earle who has such an incredible and inspiring love for the ocean and that she doesn’t really get along with people who doesn’t share her interests. Mission Blue shows us horrific pictures of how people treat creatures from the ocean and how we’re over-fishing and taking the gifts of the seas for granted. The further we came into the film the more I was considering never to eat fish again. She is truly inspiring, Sylvia Early. She has dedicated her whole life to the sea and even letting several marriages undergo and taking her kids out of school to learn more about it and to protect it.

It is truly a beautiful documentary with amazing images that makes me want to be 12 years old again were I dreamt of being a mermaid. But I must say that I think there was too much focus on Earle than on the real problem. I wanted more information about what is going on in the ocean and how can we help and do something instead of hearing about her marriages. But I still think it was an inspiring documentary and I will recommend it to anyone cause it is truly a huge problem that we are killing all life in the ocean cause it will end up killing us all one day.

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